Downsizing Your Home

Whether you're empty-nesting or merely sick of maintenance chores, downsizing your home might be the best decision you've ever made. Read on to discover the benefits of downsizing your home.

Why Downsize your Home?

Downsizing can happen for several reasons. Many couples find themselves with too much-unused space once the kids have moved out. That four-bedroom, three-bathroom house could quickly become just a bane to clean if there's no one using the space - and that's not to mention the time spent keeping the grass cut and the garden in check.

Instead of choosing to spend their golden years managing a giant, empty household, many couples opt to move out of the suburbs and closer to an urban center, where being walking distance from their favorite shops and restaurants can help to keep them active and in touch with the community.

More for your Money

A couple from California realized that they spent all their time mainly in the kitchen and bedroom and no longer needed their four-bedroom house. They decided it would be more fun to live near downtown.

They managed to sell their 2,065 square-foot home for just under a million dollars and purchased a condo two-thirds of the size for just under $700,000 in cash, where they could walk to their church and their favorite restaurants and entertainment spots.

Downsizing your home frees you from the expenses and time commitments of managing a home that's bigger than you need, freeing up your time and finances to enjoy your retirement.

Family First

Downsizing HomeMany couples might choose to move away from their longtime home to get closer to their children and grandchildren. Living near your family can help keep you active and happier during your retirement years and ensures that you've always got help around when you need it, meaning you're more likely to be able to age in place. And many couples also help their children with childcare during working hours.

Aging with Grace

Age, in and of itself, can be another important motivation for downsizing. As homeowners get older, they might find that climbing up and down stairs every day is a bit of a chore and want to move to a single floor house. Or they might be tempted to join a retirement or assisted living community to stay active and meet new people.

Moving to an active-adult community or a continuing-care retirement community means you'll be surrounded by like-minded people and have a full roster of activities to enjoy every day. Most of these facilities also offer in-home care, nursing facilities, or assisted living setups, depending on your needs. Some communities are fee-for-service, while others include unlimited, lifetime care in an upfront fee (although these often require the largest deposits and monthly payments). Others don't offer care but take care of all of your general maintenance in a set condo fee, freeing you from these sorts of taxing tasks.

Unsure if this sort of community is right for you? Many offer "try before you buy" weekend stays, to allow you to experience what it might be like to live there before purchasing your plot.

How to Downsize Your Home

In terms of your purchase, remember that you'll get the best deals if you can purchase without a contingency for the sale of your old home, which means you might have to sell first and rent or move in with family for a while until your own purchase goes through.

Downsize HouseAlternatively, you might be able to negotiate a "lease back" with your buyers, that will allow you to stay in your home for 30 to 60 days after closing the sale and keep you from having to move your belongings twice in a row.

Deciding to downsize should be a pleasant experience - but that doesn't mean you won't need help along the way. Enlist the help of a realtor. According to their website, The National Association of Realtors offers “a course for real estate agents who want to be able to meet the special needs of maturing Americans when selling, buying, relocating, or refinancing residential or investment properties.” Ask your agent if they have an SRES® designation. Also, share the experience with friends and family to make sure that this big decision is a positive one that frees up your time and money to live your best life during your golden years.